Admit it. At least once or twice in your life, you've probably put down a book before you finished it. Now I'm not psychic by any means, but my guess is it was a book for school. For a vast majority of you - well, myself included - it was during high school. Don't we all love 19th Century Literature? Of course we do. Do we like a ton of it thrown at us at once with strict completion and examination deadlines? We probably like it a lot less then. So what do you do when you're on a time crunch with a literature assignment? You look online for summaries. What's there to fear? Here's what:
Literary Giants Can Be Trolls Too
At the risk of sounding old, let me say that when I was a kid, we weren't reading contemporary literature in high school. As a matter of fact you born-after-1994 kids, you should thank your previous generations for forcing high schools to offer up a reading list with a modern feel. Or post-modern, if you wanna be a dick about it.
Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Twilight, Crank - These would've never been read in high school during my time. (All right, I'll stop being condescending now.) When I was in high school, we were ravenous for a book printed during the 1990s or 2000s. With that said, sometimes Hemmingway, Hawthorn, Shelley, and the whole gang were a bit tedious to read and test over and over on. Mark Twain wasn't as funny the third time around, and he actually seemed more racist than anything. Sure there were Spark Notes and the like to help students ace through their studies.
Now, of course, we've got Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. You can just search the forums or search your question directly. In most cases, a forum will have the summary of a book and less than intelligent analyses. What you might never expect is a pissed-off writer insulted by a students quest not to read his book.
Although the post has since been deleted, the student originally asked Yahoo! Answers,
"I haven't been able to finish this book. Can someone give me a complete review, including everything important? I REALLY need this! AND it's not because I'm slacking."
The book is The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To. And the author is DC Pierson (who honestly looks fresh out of graduate school), who replied,
Hi! My name's DC Pierson, I wrote the book "The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep And Never Had To." First off, I'm really excited that my book is being suggested for summer reading. On the other hand, I'm bummed out that you don't want to try and finish it, and not even because you think it's bad, but just because it seems like work instead of like fun.
I'm not going to sit here and act like I didn't sometimes not read assigned books for class in high school. Even though it's referenced once in my book, the book you're avoiding reading, I've never actually read "The Scarlet Letter." So I'm sympathetic to your plight. But I think you'll find there's a ton more sex, swearing, and drugs in my book than anything else you have been or will be assigned in high school, and I don't mean in the way your teacher will tell you "You know, Shakespeare has more sex and violence than an R-rated movie!" I mean it's all there, in terms you will readily understand without having to Google them. Plus not once to I refer to anything as a "bare bodkin" or anything like that.
I guess all I'm saying is, of all the books not to read, to beg the Internet to read for you because your library is being remodeled, mine seems like an odd choice. (I recently had to read it aloud for an audiobook edition, and we recorded it in about 10 hours, and I was not reading fast at all. Maybe read it aloud to yourself an hour a night between now and when class starts? Or get together with other kids who have to read it for school and read it to each other? Maybe one of these other kids will be so impressed with your oratory skills you guys will end up making out. That would be pretty cool, right?)
Here, I'll give you an extra hint you'll get to put in your paper if you end up writing it: It was all real. A lot of people have asked me if it was supposed to be real or not, and my feeling is, it was. You won't know what I'm talking about unless you read 'til the end, though. And you might disagree with me on this "it was all real" thing once you get there. Just because I wrote it doesn't make my opinion more valid than yours. Wouldn't it be cool to tell your teacher, "The author says he thinks (it) was real but he's an idiot and I disagree with him and here's why!"
I finished my book. I bet you can, too.
Where They Went Wrong: Student vs. Pierson
Pierson (left) obviously finds time to read between shots.
First off, I think there's a valid shot taken against the student. You should never ask anyone - or the Internet - to do your reading for you. This is a terrible idea, and instead of making your teacher think you didn't read the material, you'll make them think you might need to be held back.
Second, the student does score one on the author. His question was less full of grammatical errors than the author's answer.
Third, the author proposes a strange scenario in which a student might score a little foreplay. The author scores a point for creativity, and the student just scores.
Fourth, the author scores great publicity for answering the question.
Five, both the student and author lose a point for acting on impulse. While going with your gut can often be serendipitous, both participants in this forum lose a point for sounding like high schoolers.
Six, the student scores a point for creative excuses. However, you should never say you're running behind on a book because the school's library is closed when the book is mainstream fiction which can be found ANYWHERE! Let's go with a 1/2 point on this one.
Student - 1 1/2 points
Author - 2
In all seriousness, though, I think an author answering a question like this is beneficial. While at first it seems like trolling or bullying, the author is actual careful with his words and facetious at times. In the long run, however, Pierson provides the student with some comical relief, real-life solutions, a personal challenge, and a slight scolding that might influence him to read books in the future.
If you were in Pierson's shoes, what would you have done?
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